Cybercriminals target everyone with access to the internet, and already, almost two thirds of internet users have been victims of some sort of cybercrime. Nevertheless, most cybercriminals are opportunistic – they will only attack easy and vulnerable targets. Therefore, the harder your computer is to crack, the less likely it is to be attacked by cybercriminals.
While it is impossible to make yourself impervious to all cyberattacks, there are some very basic strategies that can be employed to reduce the chance of becoming a target – or at least limit the damage that a successful attack may cause:
Just like it is necessary to lock your front door at home, it is imperative to ensure your computer is secure by installing anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall, or a package including all three. Regularly install new updates when they become available, otherwise hackers will exploit any existing flaws to break into your system. Take advantage of ‘auto-update’ features to ensure you receive the updates as soon as they are released.
Make sure that the security settings on your computer are set to the right level, particularly with regard to your internet browser and email software, as they will be able to warn you of potential risks when visiting dubious or suspicious websites.
Passwords are a necessary security measure to perform various functions on the internet. If used and chosen improperly, they can make an internet user extremely vulnerable to attacks. When required to select a password, make sure you choose a secure password that:
Furthermore, try to change you password regularly – about every two months– and always keep your password information in a secure place.
If an e-mail displays any of the following, approach it with care:
If the e-mail is from an unknown source, try to avoid opening it, and definitely avoid opening any attached files or links as they may contain harmful viruses or worms.
Many online services (for purchasing goods, using social networking services etc.) require you to enter at least some personal information on a website. Before doing so ensure that the website is in fact authentic – for instance a shopping or banking website requiring sensitive information should begin with ‘https://www’, with the extra ‘s’ standing for ‘secure.’ Also, read the privacy policies of websites, and understand how the website may use or share your personal information in the future. Always guard your e-mail address when possible, and do not unnecessarily post it on any online blogs, chatrooms, or newsgroups, or you may become susceptible to spammers and phishers.
The use of pirated software, or the downloading of pirated material, is not only illegal but is also dangerous for your computer. Many files contain hidden Trojan horses that will download themselves onto your computer along with the stolen file.
By regularly checking your accounts for unauthorized transactions, you may greatly reduce the damage a cybercriminal could inflict on your financial assets. If there are any suspicious looking actions on your account, report them immediately to your bank.
And always remember: if an online offer looks too good to be true, it is likely fraudulent.
For information on the latest Scams and Viruses, please visit the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s webpage ‘New E-Scams and Warnings’.
For additional links to information on how to protect yourself and your computer, please visit our Resource Center.
The internet is used by all types of criminals, and there is no doubt that many individual internet users view cyberspace as an ideal forum to prey on the vulnerabilities of children. While the internet allows children to experience new and exciting sources of knowledge, it is vital that they are protected from internet users who seek to exploit them.
Different surveys purport different statistics on the issue, but according to the Virtual Global taskforce, roughly 1 in 5 children using the internet have received sexual advances whilst online. Furthermore, about nine out of ten sexual advances towards children take place in internet chat rooms.
Children can be targeted by offenders through many different online venues:
There are some guidelines that can be followed to increase your child’s online safety:
Most children have never been abused online, and never will be, but there are some potential signs that you look to look out for, namely:
Remember, however, that these behaviors may simply be signs of your child growing up – therefore, always try to be open with your child and establish the reasons behind why your child may be changing their behavior.
Nevertheless, if you are concerned, seek help and advice:
One point of reference for advice and reporting is the Virtual Global Taskforce. It is made up of law enforcement agencies from around the world working together to fight child abuse online: virtualglobaltaskforce.com
Another extremely valuable resource is ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative, which promotes a range of events and activities related to child online protection, spanning issues of legality, capacity building, technical and procedural measures, the development of organizational structures, and international cooperation. For more information, please visit: itu.int
For more information on child safety online, please visit this website:
Reporting instances of cybercrime is of particular importance in today’s increasingly digital climate, as governments, businesses, law enforcement agencies (LEAs), international organizations, and the general public are all trying to understand the impact that cybercrime has on our daily lives. Awareness of cybercrime is paramount when attempting to prevent and combat its effects. The more frequently cybercrime is reported, the more adeptly LEAs and other actors can adapt to tackle this complex issue. Some examples of national reporting mechanisms are listed below:
EU Member States